The New York Times has published a declassified version of a 2016 report from the Defense Department Inspector General that assesses the reforms implemented to improve security of the NSA's most sensitive systems after the Snowden disclosures.
Latest in Intelligence Oversight
On November 30th, the House passed H.R. 6393, the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY'17. While it remains to be seen what if anything ultimately emerges at the end of the process, I'd like to highlight some items in the current bill that I found particularly interesting:
- two involve attempts to give SSCI and HPSCI greater awareness of presidential policy directives and MOUs involving the IC;
Today, the Department of Defense released revised procedures governing the conduct of its intelligence activities. Lawfare has a rundown of exactly what's new and what it means for DoD intelligence collection moving forward.
Oversight of DOD Kill-Capture Missions Outside Theaters of Major Hostilities: What May Change Under the Next NDAA?
Despite the substantial overlap between counterterrorism activities undertaken by the CIA and JSOC, we tend to pay a lot more attention to the details of the congressional oversight framework for the former as compared to the latter. The NDAA often addresses CT oversight relating to DOD activities, however, and this year is no exception. What follows below is an attempt to provide a user-friendly guide to the proposals on the table.
I. Increasing the pace of quarterly operational briefings regarding CT:
Most citizens assume that all of the law Congress writes is public. That is not, in fact, true. Our general norm of publishing law has a significant and largely overlooked legislative exception: classified addenda associated with three annual national security acts.
The Lawfare Podcast: A Conversation on Global Intelligence Oversight with Sam Rascoff and Zach Goldman
This week on the show, Zachary Goldman and Samuel Rascoff of the NYU Center on Law and Security come on the show to discuss their new edited volume, Global Intelligence Oversight: Governing Security in the Twentry-First Century.
On one the hand, it was always clear that the Germans actively aided U.S. intelligence-gathering and hungrily consumed its results. On the other hand, the German intelligence services face nothing like the control and oversight under which the American intelligence community labors.
The intelligence community now faces the worst of both worlds: a public that knows just enough about its spies to mistrust them, but not enough to understand what they do. This state of affairs should be a reminder that there is no substitute for a robust public debate, and there is no better forum for that conversation in the United States than Congress.
Change throughout the international system is profound and accelerating. While the Intelligence Community (IC) seeks to inform policymakers about change, the IC also needs to look inward and reflect on the implications of change for its own mission and for the oversight of its activities
In considering whether executive oversight of Australia’s intelligence agencies is robust and effective, an important lesson that emerges is the difficulty of holding intelligence agencies accountable when they have been granted extraordinary statutory powers that are difficult to exceed.